Update on Summer Protocols

Dear Academic Staff and Faculty,

I am reaching out to you to make you aware of changes to our health and safety protocols. We have all been in the midst of continual change over the past 14 months. Today, we are looking forward and preparing for our continued return to our campus.

As the CDC and the State of Texas have removed certain COVID-related restrictions and community health conditions continue to improve, UNT is responding with changes to our COVID guidelines. A number of these changes will impact our instruction, learning environments, research facilities and academic activities.

It is exciting to be able to offer students a learning experience they would normally expect at UNT this summer, but it also creates questions. We have outlined many guidelines for you below, but there are additional guidelines that are currently under review and further communication will be forthcoming as decisions are made. Please continue to send your questions and requests to Brenda.Kihl@unt.edu so we can respond to your needs.

Continuity of Teaching

  1. In accordance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order 36 Prohibiting Government Entities From Mandating Masks, face coverings are no longer required at UNT. We want everyone to be comfortable in our campus community, and you are welcome to let your students know that they may wear a face covering in class and on campus as they desire.
    1. Similarly, you are welcome to wear a mask in class and on campus as you desire.As you finalize your syllabus for summer, please delete existing syllabus references to required face coverings and replace them with the following statement:
      1. “Consistent with CDC guidelines and state policy, individuals are not required to wear face coverings on UNT’s campuses. Non-vaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering until further notice. The use of face coverings has proven to reduce the spread of diseases, including COVID-19. All students and faculty are welcome to wear a face covering in class or on campus to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.”
  2. Classrooms are returning to their typical configuration effective June 1. Classroom Support is in the process of updating the classroom configuration website to illustrate the furniture configuration for each classroom to reflect the typical configuration.
    1. While rooms will have their typical configuration, we are implementing a 3-foot social distancing capacity limit and it will be the responsibility of the users to ensure that a minimum 3-foot social distancing is maintained (larger social distancing, such as 6-feet, is permissible). If there are classroom activities wherein students would be less than 3 feet apart, the faculty member may make a request through Brenda.Kihl@unt.edu.
  3. A seating chart and daily attendance continue to be required to aid in the contact tracing process.
  4. Faculty may resume more experiential learning activities that also allow for 3 feet of social distancing.
    1. To support contact tracing, faculty are encouraged to establish small groups or “pods” of students who collaborate in discussion and team projects throughout the term to minimize the total number of close contacts each student has during class.
    2. Students and faculty are able to share classroom objects, such as lab/art supplies, papers, etc.
    3. As a reminder, guest lectures from visitors are permitted without approval.
  5. Each classroom will continue to contain a green camouflage bucket with sanitizing spray and other cleaning supplies. Students may continue to use these cleaning supplies to sanitize their classroom space when they arrive. Supplies will be replenished nightly by custodial staff, but if you find that the supply has been exhausted, you can order more using the Report-a-Problem app on the classroom computer.
  6. Continued flexibility is requested for student absences due to illness, and we ask that you continue to provide opportunities for students to participate remotely during times of isolation or quarantine.
  7. We are expanding the availability of HyFlex/Advanced Synchronous Rooms. These enable students to join remotely more easily. Hyflex classrooms can (1) capture better audio and video including the students for class discussion and (2) feature more cameras and better angles so the faculty member can move around the front of the room. By the start of Summer 1, we expect to have expanded to 30 HyFlex rooms. More information to come when rooms are ready.
  8. Microphones are available in all 110 classrooms. The transmitter stays in the room. An individual lavaliere microphone will be assigned to each faculty member for hygienic purposes and can be requested though DSI Tech (DSITech@unt.edu, 940-565-2691).
  9. As in prior semesters, faculty are able to use outdoor spaces for instructional purposes.
  10. Faculty office hours should be scheduled in a way that supports students in their learning and formatted in a way that that meets their needs. Office hours are required of all faculty teaching courses and may be conducted in person or in a virtual format. Faculty may hold office hours in their office or in another space that allows for a minimum of 3-foot social distancing.

Continuity of Operations

  1. UNT is maintaining a minimum of 3 feet of social distancing in all spaces. That is approximately an arm’s length between you and another person. Note that is a minimum and larger distances can be maintained.
  2. Contact tracing and the COVID Hotline remain active.

Continuity of Student Services

  1. Academic activities outside the classroom such as field trips and performances, while encouraged, still require review and approval by committees. Submit requests to Brenda.Kihl@unt.edu. Forms are on the Return to Learn website.
  2. Summer camps and other summer programs must comply with the governor’s executive order and no longer require masks. Other changes to COVID-related protocols will be included in safety training required of summer camp program staff. Trainings are scheduled in order of the summer program start date.

Continuity of Research

  1. Research activities must comply with the governor’s executive order and no longer require masks, unless there is a non-COVID safety requirement for the research environment.
  2. Social distancing in research spaces may be 3 feet without approval.
    1. Research activities requiring less than 3 feet between individuals require an application through Pamela.Padilla@unt.edu.

Continuity of Clinical Operations

  1. Clinics must comply with the governor’s executive order and may no longer require masks.
  2. Clinics must submit a revised reopening plan to AAARG for review and approval indicating changes the safety protocols, such as removal of masking requirements and changes in social distancing. Consultation with members of the Health Crisis Team is recommended in all safety plan revisions. Revised plans should be submitted to Brenda.Kihl@unt.edu.

Travel Restrictions

  1. Travel restrictions are still in place and only essential business travel is being considered. Research travel is considered essential and can be requested by sending a request for travel to Brenda.Kihl@unt.edu. Professional development and conference travel is not being considered at this time.
  2. We know there are questions that relate to carpooling and other types of group travel. The health crisis committee is currently reviewing protocols and you can expect further guidance in the coming weeks.

We understand that there are some in our community who may continue to be high-risk. As stated in an email from the UNT System in April, high-risk modifications related to COVID-19 ended on April 30. Any employee may initiate a request for a reasonable accommodation due to a disability through Human Resources.